Promethean Ensemble presents CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE. This is a musical parable. It’s about life happenings that change a person’s direction. When Grusha’s employer is beheaded, his wife flees leaving behind their baby. Reluctantly, Grusha rescues and raises the baby. When her soldier fiance returns from the revolution, he finds out about her kid and her marriage of inconvenience. While he was away, Grusha was coerced into marrying a dying peasant. Unfortunately, the guy was faking it. So, now she has an unplanned kid, an unwanted husband and an unhappy fiance, what can she do now? It’s for the judge to decide. CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE draws a line between love & war, rich & poor, servant & son and comedy & drama.
Playwright Bertolt Brecht penned this play in 1944. Although it’s a parable set in faraway land, Brecht’d strong anti-Fascist and anti-Nationalist belief resonates throughout the piece. Despite the serious, post WWII commentary, the show is playful. Under the skillful direction of Ed Ruthford, the large and energetic ensemble tells the story. The relational entanglements are madcap scenarios. Adding to the lighter mood is the music. Brecht wrote songs into the text and composer Matt Kahler produces original tunes to orchestrate harmony in the score and in the village.
Kahler’s work in the successful Hypocrites‘ Mikado is perfect for Brecht’s intention and Ruthford’s execution. Actors are also musicians. The guitar-strumming narrator, Cary Davenport, anchors this show with pitch-perfect singing and engaging storytelling. In the lead, Sara Gorsky (Grusha) enchants as the unexpected heroine. Gorsky’s exasperation and comedic timing serves as an ongoing zing to the punchline. Another outstanding performance is Teddy Lance (Azdak) whose physical presence adds a slapstick element to his hilarious antics.
CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE is melodious buffoonery. When the chalk dust settles, it leaves behind lessons to live by.
Running Time: Two hours and thirty minutes includes an intermission
At City Lit Theatre, 1620 W. Bryn Mawr
Written by Bertolt Brecht
Directed by Ed Ruthford
With original music by Matt Kahler
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru February 9th
Buy tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com